February is Black History Month. As an African-American Darion White wanted to take this opportunity to study some of the issue surrounding games and the portrayals of African characters or those with African heritage.
I remember some of the best characters in vg history cj from san andreas mechael lori from shadow man halo cole vic vance from gta vice city stories
Drebbin, Metal Gear Solid 4.
@1.1 I agree. exactly what i thought
Because they make chickens nest in their afros, make them the only character in the game to speak Ebonics (Barret), and make them hang out with monkeys (I like Drebin too, but really...), SigInt from MGS3 was cool, though. And Tekken's Raven is bad-arse
drebin was an annoying sisquo, i half expected him to start singing the thong song.
Cole Train is a beast. He made Gears shine.
Im NOT BLACK, IM WHITE but from what i can grasp the target audience does to me seem to representent quite the stereotype. Its ierritating to go or watch any high shcool, college, or pro football or basketball game and see that 90% of the black athletes act like they are all "gangstas" and rappers. It seems they have a tough time to identify with anything else. It seems as a whole originallity is dead for the young black male. Have they relized other clothes besides baggy and thug looking clothes exist? Seriously i go to high school and what do i see 99% of the small amount of black kids guy and girl dress like they came out of a rap video. So i think first they must change if they want to see change, there simply isn't enough from what im seeing on their part.
what should they be wearing then? cargo pants? maybe goth clothes with a metal chain? lol maybe they like wearing baggy clothes becuz its confortable! 90 % of white people wear the same stuff too just you don't notice.
That's because they stereotype Black people. They're not racist,they just don't know wtf is the proper representation of a Black man/Black woman in a videogame.
Exactly. They're not bad people, they just don't know. There are only so many black developers around, if any. No major ones that I know of.
Ignorance is no excuse. These devs can research a gun down to every detail but they fail with black people. What joke.
Bubbles....what a powerful observation.
Seems to me it would be a lot easier to research a gun than to sum up an entire demographic with one character. Im not saying that they can't do better but I don't think cole train (as featured in the pic) isn'tdoing any injustice. Augustus Cole is basically just Terry Tate being himself. The devs said that to, they would just let him loose in a recording studio and about 80 percent of what is said was his own doing. Plus the article said Eastern games do white leads well? Really? It doesn't bother me that they don't but lets face it, beyond metal gear I can't think of any game atm that protrays a white guy that just isn't totally ridiculous.
How about Bomboclaat gamer from N4G
Eli Vance? Alyx Vance??
I didn't even think of that, very good example.
Article from Edge....Dont care @ TruEve Well seeing as your not from Edge I will actually read it. Im just fed up of the stupid reviews and articles that have been coming from edge recently. Hey I shouldnt of judged it because its actually a really good article. Like a user said above me, most developers still use the stereotypical "Black Guy" character due to the fact the media is always exposing them. People like Soulja boy dont help (Sorry that may sound stupid but i cant stand him)
I wrote this article for my site Prime Plus (Darion White). Edge was interested so they wanted to republish is for me on their site! How nice of them :).
Yeah, I remember reading this earlier in the week. Good article, really insightful.
Good work mate!
Lester Speight play Cole Train? That's the way Lester Speight normally acts...
Why is that important? Black, White, Indian, Asian...who cares? They aren't being racist. It's just easier to make a black guy look like a thug. If you see a white guy with spinners...you usually just laugh, don't you? Of course, I don't condone ANYBODY being "gangster". I take the Cosby approach on this one. If black people don't want to be known as thugs...they should get out of the ghetto. Whining about how life is hard on the streets won't get you money, a nice family, and an education. There are more black people living in the ghetto than white people...by a huge margin. We create our own stereotypes. If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, do you really think he would side with Obama? Heck no!!! Has anyone seen the Boondocks episode where MLK Jr. comes back? All the black people hate him because he wants to live in peace...not a society where black people think they're better than white people. Malcolm X was for that crap!
I'm not going to explain it to you, just suggest you try rewatching it and understand what "context" means. Bill Cosby is a fool, he went to Spelman college spouting black males aren't doing anything in college and it's up to just the black females. (and this was the year that black males had a higher graduating percentage than black females and howard university had the largest number of male graduates in science and math) and you should really read a book on malcolm x and martin luther king before you spout your opinions as fact. Malcolm X's beliefs had nothing to do with being "better". whoever told you that is kiding themselves and needs to take a history class or two.
you don't know anything about black people do you? i may not be a thug or gangster or living in the ghetto,but your understanding of black people is so limited it's pathetic. "i'm going to take the cosby approach on this one."you're nothing like cosby. people like you think blacks got on a boat and came to america. people like you think blacks already had the right to vote in america. people like you don't think that minorities weren't held back by the white majority. forty plus white presidents.not asian,not indian....WHITE.that should tell you something.when blacks were sitting in the back,that should tell you something.when they were drinking from seperate fountains,that should tell you something.but that would mean you had intelligence to understand it. the only reason blacks aren't represented well in games is because they don't lead in the game designing.blacks aren't going to be leading japanese companies where most games came from.and they won't be in charge of most game companies started by white developers. when blacks,hispanics,asians,italia ns,jews,etc,get their own companies,only then will those races be represented well in games as well as other media. you're worse thatn the guy on this site that has a hitler avatar.at least he's openly admitting his foolishness. WOW!but then,it's expected that the internet would be filled with individuals like you. apocalypse...............
I saw THAT coming. I read the article. It was well written and not racist in the least bit. However, most of the people here seem to think black people don't have any rights these days. No, I wasn't around when black people didn't have the right to vote. You weren't either though...so, stop taking credit for what other people did. I'm intelligent enough to take credit for what I do and not my ancestors. Do you think "I" killed millions of Jewish families because I'm of Italian descent, like Benito Mussolini? No. Do I think a black person is a poor movie director, because they have the same skin color as Spike Lee? Guys... ...don't act like either of you has read a book by Malcolm X. I know more about black history than most black people. It's been shoved down my throat for entire month EVERY YEAR since I was born.
@LeonSKennedy4Life - Comments like "It's just easier to make a black guy look like a thug" sound racist, period. I am not calling you a racist because I do not know you and that would be unfair. Do you know what a ghetto means? You say "If black people don't want to be known as thugs...they should get out of the ghetto". You can have a thug/gangster living in middle America/suburbs. The ghettos started back when you had a lot of the immigrants come to the land of freedom. Remember the qoute "Gives you tired, hungry , and poor. The "Ghetto" was full of Irish, Italian, African, and Hispanic. These people were poor and many still are. Poor equals ghetto/trailer park/ inner city and poor knows no boundaries and no race. Your comment seems to generalize a lot. You know what MLK would do, huh? And why would he not support Obama? If you have read anything about MLK and understood he is for the advancement of all. You must have a problem with Obama. State why and why MLK would not support him? Your honestly going to use a cartoon for logic, I mean come on. Let's debate on legitimate topics. You go on to say "...don't act like either of you has read a book by Malcolm X. I know more about black history than most black people. It's been shoved down my throat for entire month EVERY YEAR since I was born." -Umm, are you referring to black history month? So you know how much black history each black person knows? Does not make sense. Do you know why the US government decided to create black history month? Well, because blacks played a pivotal role in this America's history and it was left out of the regular US/American History. Every race in America has paved the way for a better America. So with that said you know more about Asians, Hispanics, etc because of Asian heritage month or Hispanic heritage month? Honestly, I am open for good unbiased and legitimate dialogue, but your comments seem like they have some hidden animosity in the midst.
theres more white people in the ghetto. now there is a higher percentage oif blacks in the ghetto but not more actual people. And you don't know what MLK would think of obama. And lastly who says obama is black? he half and half. WLPOWELL your wrong too cosby wasn't talking about college in general he was talking a whole lot of things. he was talking about guys having kids and not taking care of them and their kids not getting a proper education. And hes talking to them in hopes of them leading lesser men onto the right path. And a lot of black men are doing nothing and women are holding more weight
Can't we just call everybody humans and get this racism stuff done with? EDIT: I don't mean this article, I just mean in general.
Sadly, in this world it'll never happen. We live in a world where your social standing means anything. Race is just another part of social standing. I know its sounds pessimistic but, none of that is gonna disappear because humans are always afraid of change; always fearing the unknown and different. Anyway, no more from me. Forgot this is N4G.com, not Change4theWorld.com
The rest of the world doesn't have this problem. Only the US does. So if anything they wouldn't give 2 sh*ts about this.
Maybe because it is just easier and faster for plot developers who are just too lazy or who just don't like breaking the mold of the common protagonist in games (you know, the regular pretty white boy who overcomes all obstacles in his life). My favorite black character of all time wasn't CJ from San Andreas, but CJ's friend Ryder. He was totally an Eazy E-ripoff but he was cool and funny as hell. Will Square-Enix ever include a lead Black Protagonist in a future Final Fantasy??? Who wants to place bets now?
Look, America has a Black President now.....We need to just let it go. Time changes everything, and just as there is a Black President there will also be better black video game characters, movie characters, etc...etc... Ultimately it shouldn't matter what color any character is! I want to play as an white,asian,latino & black character. I want to experience all cultures in my gaming experiences.
In a perfect world maybe, but it will never be that easy... Just look at how society treats gays and muslims. Electing a black president is a drop in the bucket, there's still a LOOOONG way to go.
your right there is a long way to goooooo, but at least that first step is a start ! if you dont take the first step... you will never reach that final destination. nothing will change unless some people move on and if you spend you life waiting for someone else to move on before you .. you may just spend your whole life waiting. sometimes change calls for you to be the one to make the first move.
I think having a black president is a another of many great steps forward to evolving the perception of black people (and perhaps minorities as a whole) in our society. It's good when the white majority has a different sort of black guy to look at besides the hip-hop loving, potty mouthed, wannabe gangsters and sports stars we see flooding the media. He's definitely not the first minority to change perceptions, I don't mean that at all. He is however, just about the highest profile you can get. Hopefully some good comes of that in shattering traditional, stereotypical roles.
Tell that to my mailman who refuses to deliver mail to because i am the only black man living in an all white estate.
"Hip hop loving". Wow. This is why race shouldn't be discussed on video game sites. It's 90% comments like that.
...make counterarguments instead of vague accusations. I really have no idea what you're talking about unless you elucidate.
The correct portrayal of a Black character is just to make them like any other person. I loved Alex and her father in Half-Life. They were just scientist who were trying to free civilization. Once we get pass the idea of skin color, then we can truly make stories with characters that are just human, nothing more, nothing less.
But unfortunately we will always have the Cole trains...
True, can never get pass the easy stereotypical character. Its the same for all races. The emo (or skater punk) for caucasians, the nerdy math wiz for asians, the loudmouth feisty girl for latinos. Lol the more I think about it, the whole melting pot of America has become one big melting pot of fail since we still thrive on stereotypical b/s in our media.
just saying... my favourite black character; CJ was cool.. but mine has to be SG Johnson from halo CE. At the opening scene when he is addressing the marines. i loved the fact that for a cut-scene, he didn't always say the same thing.
@WLPowell, It does works that way. Time heals everything, look at America 50 years ago and look at America today. We are a much better more diversified nation!!!
In a time where we have a black president we still have the black characters from Gears of War and FFXIII that are walking stereotypes. What this article proves is that the world is still very naive to other people/cultures and video games are reflecting that. Why has the industry been so slow to open up the spectrum of heroes. (You can't lie and tell me it's been the same white, half-bald, muscle bound, space marine badass with 90% of games. and a minority playing the comic releif side kick... if they even exist in the games universe at all) It's pretty sad that you can count on one hand how many african american lead characters there are in video games, the same for asian american, the same for latino american, etc., etc. that aren't atheletes. (and I'm keeping it strictly for western developers because they actually have the different nationalities in their regions, whereas the eastern devs don't) Plus if you've ever played any games online, you'll understand the overall view and disrespect that the gaming community seems to have towards minorties. What angers me most is when gaming journalist are (for some of the few times) doing real journalism, talking about real news in the gaming world. They touch on the subject of race and every random gamer says it's not an issue. Yet I get called the N word a hundred times while I'm trying to enjoy a game of Halo or Call of Duty...
because most gamers are white, and they hate colored people!
Not because they hate colored people, but because a ignorant few come out and act like d****. I'm black and have a mix bunch of friends, so bunching all into one group doesn't solve it. Hate only breeds more hate. Peace and love, let's push for that. Aight?
Well I guess it's because of rap and hip hop. Rappers are mostly black and yet they do the exact same thing. They talk about basketball, money, clothes, they always want to show their big muscles, they call themselves n******, etc. IMO rappers should make an effort and kill themselves. They are promoting the stereotypical portrayal of blacks and this doesn't do any good. But then again, look at the other characters from GeoW. Aren't they all brainless mountains? Look at the white characters in other GTA games. Aren't they all thugs?. Now I know there are way more good white characters in video games than good black characters, but that's just because more game devs are white. But like I said, the rappers always bring their cancerous contribution. 50 cent made himself a game and he portrayed himself as a thug. Soulja Boy makes himself look like a superficial idiot. So until we boycott rappers, things will change, but VERY slowly. Music and movies influence our lives a lot. When black musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Funkadelic will become mainstream and popular among black people, and when black directors will create wise black characters for their movies instead of action men, then things will be solved. (BTW if you don't know Funkadelic, look for the song ''Maggot Brain'' on youtube. Best frigging guitar song I've ever heard)
but killing themselves isn't gonna solve it. Evolving themselves pass the negative chains that they've brought upon themselves will help. Hip-Hop isn't horrible, it started off as a fun-loving music genre. It was gangsta rap that destroyed hip-hop's good name.
of course it was just a metaphore...
My bad, I'm always so literal XD
The everyday "money, objectifying women, cars" rap is just the same as all pop subgenres of music. It's there to sell money to the mindless masses that eat that stuff up. Those customers buy it because it's relatable. I've spoken with a lot of rappers that portray that image. It's poison yes, but there isn't a lot of profit in other ventures for them, and if you grew up in a lot of the places they have, trust me, you'll do almost anything to get out yourself. So you can make your life better. Listen to Notorious BIG's "ready to die" or Jay-Z's "American Gangster"... alot of the "money, objectifying women, cars" BS, but the context speaks volumes on what the artist has learned about his way of life. On the other end there are the Common's, Lupe fiascos, Q-Tips, Mos Defs speaking about the joys of life, and lighter subjects. You have to understand that they are artists, many artists get molded into an image, because along with your craft you sell yourself. It doesn't matter the product or medium, but the customer will always have a thought in the back of their head that your art must reflect you/ your view of your society in some way. On the other end of the spectrum I've spoken with some rappers who just emulate that image because they just don't know any better. But unlike these developers I went out and learned to understand a group of people, instead of just generalizing based off of what the media feeds me. At the end of the day the excuse of the developers using gangster rap as their source for understanding black people is BS. I apologize for the lengthy write-ups...
Try some Lupe Fiasco, The Roots, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Little Brother, Murs, Blu, MF Doom, Common, Outcast, Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul,etc. The bad image of hip hop is helped by the corporate media. Tell me why Camron was chose as the "representative" of hip hop on 60 minutes when no one even listens to him and he hasnt dropped a cd in a looong time? Why does Bill O Reilly like to talk about the "bad" rappers, but fails to mention anything about the people I have listed above? Its funny how a majority of mainstream rap/hip hop comes from the same big record companies that refused to touch the genre in the 90's. After seeing how successful it was, now they cared about rap and started copying what they believed would sell the most (gangsta & hardcore rap). Most of the gangster rappers you see are nothing more than studio gangsters. They have to follow a strict set of guidelines in order to even have their own records produced, marketed, and sold.
Like normal friggin people.
I didnt know people changed the way they "acted" based on the color of their skin. Last time I checked, douchebags and smart people came in every color. Instead of trying to portray characters based on their color, they should start making interesting characters REGARDLESS of color. I'm done.
Great minds think alike. :P
Thank you ! bubble to you good sir... it should not matter the colour, it should just be an interesting character for an interesting story.
Developers don't know how to represent a black person. Every time I see a black guy in a video game he's always cursing, violent, and not the smartest in the group. That's why black characters don't really appeal to people. Well....ok, actually, I do like one black character. Who is it? Drebin from Metal Gear Solid 4. That guy was just plain awesome, lol.
Oh give me a fu**ing break. Whites can have heavy metal, but black people's music has to be 100% positive? Black people have to be perfect in order to get treated like normal people, but whites can do anything and still get treated well? That's BS. Black people don't have to earn something that white people can't lose even if they tried.
Brothers, just be glad the token black guy is in practically all forms of american entertainment today. (I'm latino), and 'we' outnumber you as a minority and we don't get represented with much significance at all in entertainment. The american white man inserts token black guy in movies, games...and so it appears 99.9% of porn, just to make sure he proves he's not a racist.
Oh yes, the ever popular Racism. Black people complain about racism but they're the ones that use thee most racist word in "nigga" the most. So how does that work???
How is the N word more racist than other words? Anyway, the black race card lost it's cred when Obama won. It's over.
I'm the author of this article and I'm not calling anyone racist. This is simply an overview of black protagonists/characters in games (not all of course) and how games can evolve into a more socially diverse/respectable medium. This extends further than the black minority as well. Please read it :)
Okay I totally didn't read it. I been busted. :p Reading now...
I have been a gamer for a while. I have noticed that development (include hardware) companies originating from Japan get a pass when they let slip there racist idiosyncrasies. The "I am ignorant and I don't know that I am doing anything offensive" is crap. They need and should be called out.
omg this guy whines.. i mean, how often do you see a russian game character? (mhm GTA4, but not much else).. do you hear the russians complain? NO. Personally i couldent care less what race the character, in the game im playing is. This is the type of guy, that was responsible for capcom making white people in RE5.. its just lame, ITS SET IN AFRICA.. No one cared that you only killed spanish people in RE4? But not that its black people, OMFG BIG DEAL And wtf.. was i the only one thinking Cole was freakin awesome!!1 :D
As the author of this article I'll like to address some issues with your comment. 1.)I'm not whining. This article is a serious and even humorous overview of black protagonists/characters in games. Read it before you attempt to analyze please. 2.)Also, if you read, you'd know that I state this issue isn't prevalent only with blacks. It just so happens to be black history month and and I happen to be black. If someone wants to write an identical editorial concerning other ethnicities, that would be fantastic. 3.)I'm not the type of guy responsible for Capcom's NPC alteration in RE5. In fact, I respected the concept from the beginning. Please don't generalize. 4.)Resident Evil 4 has nothing to do with this. And the article never mentioned it. 5.)Cole is entertaining (as I stated in the article), but there's no doubt that he is unoriginal and stereotypical.
Shove your black this and white that up your @rse. YOU are the reason we can't get rid of racism. People like you just keep perpetuating it ad nauseam. Let it go!
You know it's individuals with mindsets like yours that derail the social perspective. No disrespect. This isn't about "black and white", and I never even courted that notion. You can't ignore socially trite matters. Subjects such as this must be discussed to fully understand and actually come closer as ethnicities, nationalities, and races. Also, I never mention racism or even that we "have to get rid of it". This article is about why the majority of black characters in games suck. Telling someone to "shove" something up their arse won't help at all.
*EDIT* Oh never mind. It's not even worth the effort. Have fun.
If you are ignorant of American history you really should not talk about Resident Evil, it would be like me saying that the censored box art for Left 4 Dead that Japan ggot is stupid even though I have absolutely no clue why the missing finger thing may be offensive to Japanese people. Anyone who says anything along the lines "Racism is done because Obama won." is a moron. It would be like saying racism was over and done with when MLB let a black man in. "Shove your black this and white that up your @rse. YOU are the reason we can't get rid of racism. People like you just keep perpetuating it ad nauseam. Let it go!" Oh so no one is supposed to talk about how black people are often portrayed as total douches. Oh yes pointing this out really perpetuates "racism" it is people that don't ever want to hear people point these kinds of things out that get all defensive and whine like yourself that perpetuate "racism." (It's really more like bigotry in this case since racism actually requires a sense of superiority.) I don't think we would see as many ridiculous depictions of black people coming from Japan if someone actually spoke up and told them that these things were (sometimes) offensive. Heck do any of you think Arab people like being the terrorist in every other movie or TV show or game? would an Arab person be wrong to point out that being the target of fictional bullets all the time is offensive on some level?